See that little homie up there, all tuckered out and being nuzzled by his long-necked mama? He does not have a name yet. He was born a few days before Halloween, though—standing six feet tall and weighing 120 pounds, making him a prime candidate to be a European supermodel—and the Dallas Zoo, where he resides, opted to auction off the right to give the lil’ guy his new name as part of their annual fundraiser.
The winning bidder, who has chosen to remain anonymous, plunked down a whopping $50,000 for those naming rights.
“Naming rights” typically conjures up thoughts of stadiums emblazoned with the name of a phone company, but the little giraffe in Dallas will not be called Verizon or AT&T; whoever paid that fifty grand is not taking the opportunity to honor his or her parents or children, or favorite high school science teacher. Instead, the name of the young fella with the very long neck is to be determined by an online survey, as all things in this new age should be.
The winning bidder has narrowed the list down to three, and has tasked the zoo’s patrons with making a final decision:
Our generous donor who paid $50,000 to name the Dallas Zoo’s baby giraffe is opening the choice up for a public vote! Please select from the three African names chosen by the donor below. Our donor would also like the voting contest to benefit Dallas/Fort Worth area children. Please nominate the DFW-area school you’d like to win a free animal visit from our Animal Adventures team. The winning school will be randomly selected.
Voting ends Sunday, Nov. 9, at 5 p.m. The winning name and school will be announced Monday, Nov. 10.
The names that voters can choose from are: “Kopano,” which means “United” in Setswana, the language of the Southern African state of Botswana, which is home to an abundant giraffe population; “Usawa,” which means “Equality” in Swahili, a language spoken frequently in a number of Southeastern African countries; or “Shingo,” which means “Neck” in Swahili.
“Neck” is a pretty good name for a giraffe, but it’s also rather non-specific. It is the defining characteristic of every giraffe, after all. Nevertheless, “Shingo” is a pretty satisfying word to say aloud (try it!), so that’s where we’ve cast our vote.
However this naming business shakes out, the Dallas Morning News has some thoughts: Specifically, whatever voters call it, they’ve got some nicknames they’d like to apply to the newborn calf. They’re all kinda weird: Among them “Fiddy K,” a reference to both the amount paid for the naming rights and to mid-00s rapper Fifty Cent, or #GiraffeFromDallas, an attempt to cash in on the #AlexFromTarget nonsense (we imagine zoo tour guides having to say “Hashtag Giraffe From Dallas” would get old pretty early on). So we’ll stick with the basics—somebody donated $50,000 to the little dude’s home for the right to call this giraffe something inoffensive in an African language, so we’ll call it whatever he or she wants.
(image via Dallas Zoo Facebook page)